Royal Air Force.

National Expenditure. – in the House of Commons on 1st March 1922.

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I will turn now briefly to the question of the Air Force. There the cut recommended was £5,500,000, but, as before, £1,000,000 of that was unspecified. The Air Minister proposed a reduction of £3,000,000. So the comparison is as between £3,000,000 on the one hand and £4,500,000 on the other. The Air Force have made great efforts to economise. They are reducing the £18,500,000 of Estimates of this year to £10,500,000 in the next year, giving a reduction of 43 per cent. It may be questioned, as I gather from some hon. Members behind me, whether we are not running great risks in going so far in these reductions. We have looked at the problem, weighing on the one hand the necessities of our country and on the other hand the position of financial stringency in which we find ourselves, and we give these recommendations to the House as those which, we believe, can be most justified in the conditions in which we now are.